Archie, Marjory, George and John

The new building houses the council customer services, the Stromness registrar and Police Scotland as well as the library. Being booked at the library might take on a whole new meaning.

The building has offices and meeting rooms, those rooms have been given the names of three people well respected in the town.

Marjory Corrigal lends her name to one of the rooms. Marjory has a very particular connection to lending libraries in Stromness – her bequest built and established the first public library at Hellihole Road.

Dr John Rae is the name of one of the other rooms. Rae’s statue stands metres from the new library. ‘In the history of arctic exploration, John Rae (1813-1893) is known both for his discovery of the eventual fate of the Franklin expedition and his own personal success as an arctic explorer who understood and made use of indigenous arctic technology. A persuasive interpretation as to why Rae was a successful explorer is his childhood in Orkney, by virtue of this he developed not only a legendary physical fitness, but a love and a knowledge of the land.’ – Stromness Museum. Find out more about John Rae by visiting the museum.


George Mackay Brown late 1970s, photograph by Gunnie Moberg. Orkney Library & Archive

George Mackay Brown (1921-1996) also has a meeting room at the new building. GMB, as he is known, is surely Orkney’s best known writer. Regarded as one of the greatest Scottish poets and writers, his work has a proud presence in the new library. The GMB Fellowship operate from the building. Read GMB’s dispatches on the old library in his columns for The Orcadian here.

graham place archie bevan
That’s Archive Bevan amongst the traffic jam in Graham Place, Stromness. Archie was instrumental in the retention of the flagstones in Stromness. Photograph by Gunnie Moberg, Orkney Library & Archive

Archie Bevan (1925-2015) , the literary executor of George Mackay Brown, Stromness Academy Head of English and co-founder of the St Magnus Festival, gives his name to a room. Archie served on the Stromness Library Committee and proposed the abolishment of late fines.

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